Remarketing vs. Retargeting – What’s the Difference?

Remarketing and retargeting might seem similar – after all, both of these are marketing strategies used for clients who are already in a business’s database. Yet, in fact, they don’t only differ in names – there is much more to it.

Remarketing vs. Retargeting – What’s the Difference?

Therefore, in this article we will discuss all the differences. Remarketing vs. retargeting – what distinguishes them? Find out, by reading on!

What is remarketing?

Before we delve into our discussion of remarketing vs. retargeting, we need to define both of these terms separately. Let’s begin with the former.

Remarketing is a wide array of strategies used to re-engage customers or target audience. It is done among people who have already been exposed to your marketing materials. The follow-ups are carried through various channels:

  • E-mails
  • Text messages
  • Personalized offers
  • Notifications

What is retargeting?

Retargeting is focused on people who have seen your company’s adverts and clicked them, but did not convert on your website or in your app. It is done indirectly, mainly through advertisements. Similarly to remarketing, these are also personalized and aim at re-engaging the user, but in this case the pure aim is: make this particular person return and convert.

Remarketing vs. retargeting – How do they differ?

Having learned the definitions of both remarketing vs. retargeting, you have probably already spotted some key differences between them. Some define the latter as a sub-area of the former, yet we believe that the dissimilarities go far enough that we should treat both of these strategies as two separate ones. So, let’s look at the particular features that distinguish them.

Communication channels

Remarketing uses a plethora of channels, but mostly the ones that are direct. It exercises any marketing channel that is already used in the campaign, hence its name. With retargeting, it’s different.

Unlike remarketing, retargeting focuses on adverts. This strategy is not supposed to attempt to engage into direct contact with the potential customer, but rather encourage them to check the offer yet again, by promoting your offer in advertisements, available in the Open Web.

Target audience

We cannot discuss remarketing vs. retargeting, without mentioning the difference in the target audience for both of these strategies. The first one attempts to reach out to customers in your channel, while the second one to a wider range of people – those who are available in open web and were already exposed to your marketing materials in one way or another. 


While you need personalization to conduct both of these tactics, the data you base it on differs. Retargeting uses organic information, like the one gathered from the cookies, and requires analysis and assumptions. 

The customization in remarketing has its roots in explicit data. It uses the information provided by the customers and from their personal accounts, such as order history. It isn’t meant to analyze and make conclusions – it’s meant to know.

Remarketing vs. retargeting in a nutshell

Let’s sum up our remarketing vs. retargeting discussion. The former is more broad, it uses various channels, and is aimed at both previous and potential customers. The latter exercises Open Web advertising and is targeted at those who have opened your website but did not convert. Adopting either of these strategies requires personalizing your marketing efforts, yet they differ in the data that this process is based on. For remarketing, it’s all the information from users’ accounts; for retargeting, it’s organic data such as web cookies and search intents.